Canadian Bulldog's True Wrestling Stories: The British Bulldogs
By Canadian Bulldog
One of the questions I'm often asked by readers is: "Dude, why don't you give up writing this crap already?" A second, although less frequently asked, question is: "Are you any relation to The British Bulldogs?"
Now, up until recently, I would tell people I wasn't. Nor am I any relation to Paul Roma, so stop asking about that as well! But I thought this would be as opportune a time as any to outline the rich, storied Bulldog Family genealogy, while also wasting valuable World Wrestling Insanity bandwidth.
Hopefully, between delightful anecdotes of my nonexistent family, you won't notice that I don't have all that much to say as it pertains to… The True Wrestling Story Of The British Bulldogs.
I'm guessing many of you haven't seen footage of the fabled Calgary Stampede wrestling program, but as a lifelong Canadian and exonerated lawyer, I can say that I have. And no matter what the so-called "stupid marks" like to say about the promotion, it sucked major ass.
Seriously! You had announcer Ed Whalen, who looked and sounded like a cranky driver's ed instructor, calling the action and getting in the face of heels when he didn't like their decisions. You had approximately 27 members of the Hart Family (Bret, Owen, Bruce, Smith, Stu, Helen, Tito, Michael, Jermaine, Latoya), winning matches so frequently that it would have even made Triple H accuse them of blatant nepotism. And you had, as the main heel stable, an outfit known as Karachi Vice, in which three decidedly non-Pakistani looking fat guys would terrorize the babyfaces.
Don't even get me STARTED on the yellow card system, either!
So it's no surprise that, when Tom Billington first came to Calgary Stampede, he instantly became a top performer there for the simple reason that HE DIDN'T SUCK ASS. Within a few short years (can't remember when; too lazy to check right now), Tom's cousin David Smith joined him from England to wreak havoc on those igloo-living, healthcare-loving, good-beer-swilling Canadian bastards.
Billington was rechristened Dynamite Kid, because "dyn-o-mite!" was a popular catchphrase in the late-1970's (source: The Museum of Television and Radio), while Smith was dubbed Paul Roma. Just kidding… he was known as Davey Boy Smith, and whether they teamed up or feuded with each other, the fans loved it because they weren't "that stupid Hart family again."
My own family has actually been called "stupid" on many an occasion, and not just vis-à-vis myself. It all began when my great, great grandfather, Avraham Yitzhak Bulldog, arrived here in Canada from Poland around the turn of the century. His first words in this country, according to legend, were "This is the greatest land of opportunity ever! EVER!!!"
Oh, so that's where it comes from…
(Above: Years before Sgt. Slaughter, Vince McMahon briefly toyed with the idea of Davey Boy and Dynamite becoming Iraqi sympathizers.)
After a few years of teaming with, feuding against, and marrying into, the Hart Family, Dynamite Kid and Davey Boy Smith did what all aspiring wrestlers do (Take note, TNA guys; we'll get you all eventually! Muhuhuhuhahahahahaha…): they sold out and joined the World Wrestling Federation.
Dubbed "The British Bulldogs", they dazzled fans in the early days while facing a diverse group of tag teams, such as Iron Mike Sharpe and Rene Goulet; Steve Lombardi and Rene Goulet; Pistol Pez Whatley and Rene Goulet; Hacksaw Jim Duggan and Super Crazy; Paul Roma and Rene Goulet; and A.J. Petruzzi and Rene Goulet.
They even made it to New York's famed Madison Square Garden. Funny story -- so did my great grandfather, Cornelius "Fitz" Fitzsimmons-Bulldog (and no, I couldn't tell you WHY he has a decidedly more gentile name than all of the descendants before and after him). Not sure if it was for wrestling or something else, but he did say the arena "smelled kind of like puke."
(Above: The poster children for substance abuse – Davey Boy Smith, Captain Lou Albano, Ozzy Osbourne, Dynamite Kid.)
In 1986, the British Bulldogs won the WWF tag team titles at WrestleMania 2, defeating the "dream" team of Greg "The Hammer" Valentine and Paul Roma, better known at the time as Brutus Beefcake.
The Bulldogs took on all comers, whether they be Valentine and Beefcake; The Iron Sheik and Nikolai Volkoff; Bret Hart and Jim Neidhart; or Barry O and Rene Goulet.
It was during that final match where I distinctly remember my grandmother, Bubbie Bulldog, watching WWF Superstars of Wrestling in her living room, cheering on Davey Boy and Dynamite, while cursing out the "stupid meshugenah referee" in Yiddish.
And that, folks, appropriately enough, is a true wrestling story.
Oh, wait… I still have seven more chapters to write. CRAP!
(Above: Davey Boy, Bret Hart and Jim Neidhart do their best Three Stooges impression.)
Things were going swimmingly for The Bulldogs until late-1986 when Dynamite injured his back during a match in Hamilton, Ontario (where -- and I'm not making this up -- I once hung out in a locker room with The Bushwhackers, King Kong Bundy and a slightly-inebriated Johnny K-9).
The prognosis was not good, suggesting Dynamite would be out of action anywhere from four weeks to seventeen years (source: The New England Journal of Medicine). However, he returned the ring in January of 1987, only to have heel referee Dangerous Danny Davis (real name: Paul Roma) cost The Bulldogs the tag team straps in a match against Hart and Neidhart, a/k/a The Hart Foundation.
I vividly remember watching the match unfold at my friend Harold's house on a Saturday afternoon. The Harts jumped Dynamite from behind and beat him to a bloody pulp, while Davis turned his back on the situation.
Speaking of which, my father, Daddy Bulldog, used to beat me to a bloody pulp, while Mamma Bulldog turned her back on the situation.
I… don't know why I chose a sparsely-read wrestling column to reveal that for the first time.
(OH, COME ON -- I'M JUST KIDDING!!! DON'T YOU KNOW THAT CHILD ABUSE = HUMOR? STUPID MARKS…)
(Above: Okay, fine. You’ve seen this picture before in a previous column of mine. Just pretend that you haven’t, okay? It’s called suspension of disbelief, people!)
The Bulldogs' WWF career went downhill after losing the tag team straps. Sure, they tried to win the belts back during 43,728 rematches with The Hart Foundation, but it never quite happened.
Backstage, Dynamite and Davey Boy's "pranks" became a bit too much for many. According to Dynamite's book Pure Dynamite, they would shred the clothes of unsuspecting wrestlers, put shaving cream into their shoes, and slip drugs into people's drinks. Those wacky pranksters!
A feud with The Fabulous Rougeau Brothers became very personal when Jacques Rougeau sucker-punched Dynamite backstage, knocking out his teeth and shredding his gums. Yet it was never even reported over on wwe.com. Where was Vince Russo when all this was happening? Reality SELLZ, bay-bee!
Another feud The Bulldogs had was with The Islanders, notable for Haku (gesundheit!) and Tama dog-napping their canine mascot Matilda. Hundreds of thousands of stupid marks sent in cards and letters to WWF President Jack Tunney's offices in Toronto, urging Matilda to get well soon. The only reason I did it was because I somehow thought the whole thing was for charity.
Following a match at the 1988 Survivor Series (where, ironically, they really DID team with Paul Roma), The Bulldogs left the company forever!!!
Except that one of them returned a few years later.
Hmm… I guess this is the part in the Bulldog Family history where I tell you a little bit about myself. Let's see… I'm roughly 7"2; of Asian-Jewish descent; probably a little TOO muscular and handsome for my own good; was raised by a pack of wolves; and so on. In my spare time I enjoy dancing, movies, working out, long walks on the beach, short jogs in the park, occasionally watching professional wrestling exhibitions, lying my ass off, and drinking heavily.
Now you know.
And knowing is half the battle.
(Above: The Bulldogs facing off? Or the two of them chatting, which I blew way out of proportion, because I couldn’t find any actual pictures of them facing off? You decide!)
Shortly after leaving, Davey Boy and Dynamite returned to Calgary Stampede so that they could stage a break-up angle and subsequent feud. And they didn't try this in the WWF… why? Come on, criticize him them all you want for hot-shotting angles over the years, but you know Vince would have, at the very least, put it on pay-per-view and given one of them new entrance music.
Following the feud, the Bulldogs found new tag team partners to continue on with: Dynamite hooked up with Davey's storyline cousin Johnny Smith as The British Bruisers, while Davey Boy tagged with someone you may know today as Paul Roma. Okay, okay -- his name was, and still is, Chris Benoit.
Next on my family tree, by the way, is MY offspring, someone I refer to as "Bulldog Junior". Not only has he appeared, quite capably, on my Club WWI audio program "Complete and Utter Bulldog" (which I'm sure you all listen to regularly), but he also illustrated my recent year-end review columns here and here.
(Above: Dynamite in Japan, against Some Guy.)
Although they had split in the storylines, Dynamite and Davey Boy both headed back to the promotion known as All Japan/New Japan/Old Japan/Rare Japan (source: Club WWI).
Now, I don't know WHAT they did there, WHO they fought or WHY they left (and I'm a professional journalist, folks). I don't know anything, in fact, about the storied history of Japanese wrestling. If you want that, go read Pureosu Power or some shit.
What I do know, however, is that Davey Boy surprised Dynamite by accepting an invitation to return to back to the World Wrestling Federation. And it was to be the last time the Bulldogs were together in the same room ever!
EVER!!! (Thanks, Great-Great-Grandpa Bulldog!)
Oh yeah… the family tree thing. It looks as though I've run out of branches. Crap, I knew I should have started a few generations earlier…
(Above: Davey Boy proudly wears… hey, wait! That’s MY cape he’s got on! It even has my name on it!)
After the real-life split, their lives couldn't have been any more different. Davey Boy reigned supreme as a roided-up powerhouse in the WWF, barreling through wrestlers like The Warlord, I.R.S, Repo Man and Paul Roma (no, seriously - he really did fight Paul Roma. I think I have the match on VHS somewhere.)
Meanwhile, Dynamite reigned supreme as a roided-up technical marvel in Japan and Europe, making enemies along the way with his volatile temper and ego.
Davey Boy eventually won the Intercontinental Title in front of 80,000 British fans, defeating brother-in-law Bret Hart. Now, suppose that Davey Boy was being pressured to lose the match in his home country? THAT would have been interesting…
Speaking of family members, did I ever tell you about my Uncle Max Bulldog? Oh, wait… sorry; I was thinking of "Welcome Back, Kotter."
(Above: Your answer to the question I posed at the start of Chapter Six.)
Dynamite's situation took a turn for the worse in 1996 when years of injuries and drug abuse caught up with him. One day, he found that he could no longer walk, and surgery to correct the problem wasn't an option. Wheelchair-bound and with little money to his name, Billington retired in England with his second wife.
Things turned bad quickly for Davey Boy as well. A 1998 injury suffered at a WCW pay-per-view had him laid out in the hospital for some time. Then in May 2002, while on vacation with his girlfriend, Davey Boy had a heart attack and tragically died.
No… there's no joke in any of that, so don't bother re-reading it. Geez, people, does every freaking paragraph here have to be a laugh-out-loud experience? I'm not ALWAYS funny, you know!
(Is it too late for me to change my story and claim I was an orphan? Because that would rock.)
(Above: A computer sketch shows us what The British Bulldogs might have looked like if they were still competing today.)
Although the events of the previous paragraph have pretty much guaranteed there won't be a British Bulldogs reunion any time soon, their legacy still lives on.
Every time you witness an exciting tag match and a variety of competitive teams in the title hunt (okay, in TNA), you know that it was The British Bulldogs that paved the way. Chris Benoit openly admits that much of his ring style mirrors that of Dynamite Kid. And between the recent hirings by WWE of Davey Boy's son Harry Smith and Jim Neidhart's daughter Nattie Neidhart, there's a decent chance that there will still be a Hart-Bulldogs impact on wrestling for some time to come.
It's the same thing with my family, only none of us are particularly athletic, or have any ties whatsoever to WWE.
Actually, that's not entirely true.
Recently, I was issued an updated copy of my family tree, which shows something kind of interesting. Take a look and let me know if any names pop out at you:
For True Wrestling Stories, I'm Canadian Bulldog.
Canadian Bulldog is a borderline journalist who writes weekly for World Wrestling Insanity and Online Onslaught and has published his own book of nutty e-mails to wrestlers. See his obscenely expensive Canadian BullBLOG for more details. He welcomes your comments at CanadianBulldog@worldwrestlinginsanity.com
|© 2005-2007 All content contained here Copyright 2006 by James Guttman *** World Wrestling Insanity and ClubWWI are not affiliated with any wrestling promotion.|